Human beings are more predictable than a clock. You might ask me why I’m saying this so I’ll give you this brief breakdown. Survival. Human beings are the only animal that acts out of cognitive reason rather than just instinctive action.
As high level pack animals, people travel in packs known as “social groups.” Whether it’s a FaceBook group, the Elks Club, or church, human beings create solidarity around “ideas” formed in the brain in an effort to define themselves and to be the “sole survivor.” Those who are believed to have the “best” ideas will rise faster within the social order.
Let’s look at the internet sensation, Snopes.com.
Snopes.com has been considered by the majority of people to be the ‘tell-all final word’ on any comment, claim and email found in cyberspace. If individuals do not “believe” what they read because it clashes with their personal identity or world view they can confidently point to Snopes and say, “See, I told you it wasn’t true!”
We do this because Snopes helps our brains “fill in the gaps.” Our brains are self organizing patterning systems. This means our brain is excellent at following patterns as opposed to evaluating the pieces. If it were not this way, it would take you just over 7,000 years to get dressed in the morning utilizing 11 separate pieces of clothing. Much like how your brain can easily decipher misspelled words by automatically filling in the “gaps,” any time your brain can shortcut it’s way to a conclusion it will.
But what is Snopes and why is it popular? Snopes helps the brain fill in the factual gaps so it doesn’t have to parcel through all the pieces. This is known as research and most brains hate it. That being said, what are the methods and training that gives Snopes the authority to decide what is true and what is not? For several years people have tried to find out who exactly was behind the website Snopes.com.
Only recently did they get to the bottom of it. It is run by a husband and wife team – that’s right, no big office of investigators scouring public records in Washington, no researchers studying historical stacks in libraries, no team of lawyers reaching a consensus on current caselaw. No, Snopes.com is just a mom-and-pop operation that was started by two people who use Google just like you. They have absolutely no formal background or experience in investigative research.
Now hear this. Whatever their bias, and all humans have one (based on decision making theory and the extensive work don by Robert S. Hartman), that is what they will post. Nothing that comes out of a human brain is without bias. This is why a website like Snopes can, over time, create a biased ideological framework for those who want their brain efforts decreased by allowing someone like Snopes to fill in their gaps.